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Nanoparticle Networks Reduces Flammability of Polymer Nanocomposites



Takashi Kashiwagi, F Du, K Winey, Jack F. Douglas, Richard H. Harris Jr., John R. Shields


Synthetic polymer materials are rapidly replacing more traditional materials such as steel, nonferrous metals and natural polymeric materials. Because these novel materials are combustible under certain conditions, their utilization often requires regulatory tests to assure fire safety. Such tests are met by processing modification of the materials to improve their flammability properties. The most common approach to improving the fire safety performance of commodity polymers is through the addition of flame-retardant (FR) compounds as fillers. Recently, environmental regulation has restricted the use of some effective halogenated FR additives and there has initiated a search for alternative FR additives. Nanoparticle fillers are highly attractive for this purpose since they can simultaneously improve both the physical and flammability properties of polymers. We show that carbon nanotubes can surpass even nano-clays as effective FR additives. It is shown that the formation of a nanoparticle network structure within the polymer matrix is key to the improvement in the flammability properties of these nanocomposites. Network structures of this kind can be formed with small quantities of single-walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, or carbon nanofibers.
Nature Materials


carbon nanotubes, flammability, nanocomposites, network


Kashiwagi, T. , Du, F. , Winey, K. , Douglas, J. , Harris, R. and Shields, J. (2005), Nanoparticle Networks Reduces Flammability of Polymer Nanocomposites, Nature Materials, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created December 1, 2005, Updated February 17, 2017